The Journal News in Westchester County, just north of New York City, has run a story concerning a privacy debate involving MOBILTRAK, a technology that allows concert venues to tell which radio stations patrons are tuned to when they approach a facility in their cars.
The story indicates that SFX Entertainment, which owns the Tweeter Center in Massachusetts, installed MOBILTRAK last year and that the system is also in use in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Atlanta and Toronto.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has joined the debate, citing privacy issues, but a spokesperson was not available for comment as the ACLU office was closed in recognition of Martin Luther King Day.
It is not clear whether other SFX venues use MOBILTRAK. SFX Entertainment is an integrated franchise that promotes and produces a broad variety of live entertainment events locally, regionally and nationally. Altogether, SFX has 120 venues overall, and either owns or operates venues in 31 of the top 50 domestic markets.
If MOBILTRAK is widely used at SFX venues, the implication would be that a single corporate entity is gathering information on people's listening habits, which critics described as "disturbing and invasive." Calls to SFX were not returned by presstime due to the Jan. 17 holiday.
-- By Murdoch McBride